Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Public attitudes towards tax compliance

The IRS Oversight Board annually surveys a cross-section of taxpayers about their attitudes towards tax complicance. They recently released the report on the 2008 summary, which is pretty interesting in the light of the recent Geithner-Daschle tax issues. Dean Paul Caron provides a nice summary of the key results:

The IRS Oversight Board has released the results of its 2008 Taxpayer Attitude Survey of 1,005 respondents. This is the eighth year the board has conducted the survey. Among the results showing a disconnect between the Washington, D.C. cognoscenti's acceptance of Tom Daschle's tax transgressions and the public's repudiation of such disregard of the tax law:

How much, if any, do you think is an acceptable amount to cheat on your income taxes?
Not at all: 89% (highest in the 8-year survey history)
A little here and there: 6%
As much as possible: 3%

It is every American's civic duty to pay their fair share of taxes
Completely agree: 72%
Mostly agree: 22%
Mostly disagree: 2%
Completely disagree: 2%

How important is it to you, as a taxpayer, that the IRS ... [e]nsures high-income taxpayers are reporting and paying their taxes honestly?
Very important: 82% (highest in the 8-year survey history)
Somewhat important: 14%
Not very important: 2%
Not at all important: 1%

I wonder how different the survey results would have been if it had been conducted this week, instead of last year?

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